Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Citizenship

Photo by Kelsey Haynes, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

UMKC Campus Hosts Western District of Missouri’s Naturalization Ceremony

A life-changing moment for many human beings is defined in varying ways. For nearly 75 U.S. immigrants, a life-changing moment was defined on Thursday, June 1 in one word. Citizenship.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City International Student Council and Student Government Association hosted the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s naturalization ceremony in the Student Union theater. As the Honorable Brian C. Wimes, spouse of UMKC Alumni Trustee Michelle Patterson Wimes, presided over the court, families and friends of citizenship applicants eagerly witnessed their loved ones take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America.

“Upon taking this oath each of you will possess all of the rights and privileges of United States Citizens,” said immigration services officer John King in his opening remarks. Immigrants from around the world stood as their native country was called upon from the podium. Countries represented included Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Philippines and more.

“Now that you are Americans we do not expect you to abandon the rich heritages that you all come from,” said Wimes. “You must teach your children about them, and enjoy your ethnic or national communities, while all the time using them as building blocks for a better and more productive life in this new homeland of yours.”

Following the pledge of allegiance, representatives from the Board of Elections briefly covered next steps to take after being granted citizenship. Of those steps was voter registration and the importance of voting. On-site voter registration was made available in the theatre lobby where the new Americans also received their citizenship certificates.

Families and friends hugged and cheered as they celebrated this major achievement. For new Americans and their loved ones, it was a forever-memorable, life-changing moment.

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